Committee on Public Transportation Planning and Development (A1E02)

Minutes for Meeting of January 8, 2001

1. The meeting was opened at 8:10 a.m. with introductions of those present.

2. Minutes of the 2000 meeting have been posted on the committee web page at They were approved by the committee.

3 and 4. Report of TRB and Group 1 Activities. TRB is updating its strategic plan. There is some concern at TRB about the permanence of electronic information and the "digital divide." The electronic submission and review of papers was initiated this year and bugs are being worked out.

5. Report on TCRP activities. Gwen Chisholm gave a status report of TCRP projects. TCRP has had 299 projects since July 1992 and 215 have been completed with 175 reports completed and with over 500 people serving on the committees. People were encouraged to volunteer for TCRP panels. Some funding for TCRP was held back last year. Next year it is expected that TCRP will be at full funding. The committee was encouraged to submit project statements. The statements will be due March 15. If a statement was submitted and not accepted, it should be resubmitted since they are not carried over.

6a) Paper Reviews. Eighteen papers were received; eleven were recommended for presentation. Decisions for publication will be made after the meeting.

6b) Status of Newsline: George Smerk has decided to stop doing Newsline. The committee thanked George for his efforts. The committee held a discussion about the future of Newsline in an era with electronic dissemination of materials. Committee members discussed problems in finding information on the web with uneven distribution of information. There appears to be problems with the TRB mailing lists and there needs to be better methods to keep these lists current and up to date. The problem seems bigger than the committee can deal with. It was felt that TRB should have a dual track with both electronic and paper copies and not rely exclusively on the internet for dissemination. Some agencies limit access to the internet and that can be a problem as well. It was suggested that stakeholders in the dissemination of transit information should get together and discuss how to deal with the problem. This could be as a task force or as a special meeting. Another suggestion was to have information specialists deal with this problem through a TCRP synthesis or project.

In summary, it was felt that this should be an issue for the strategic planning process with a response ranging from fixing problems with the TRB web site to a task force or to a TCRP synthesis or project.

6c) Strategic Planning Research Topics: TRB is looking for input on how to accommodate growth in the annual meeting, paper review and publication process, committee activities and structure, diversity issues.

Research Topics Subcommittee: Larry Sauve gave a report of the subcommittee. It focused on new services and technologies and how they affect various areas of planning. There is a lot going on in ITS and research is needed to match the technologies to the end users of the technology.

Other topics discussed were intergovernmental service coordination and planning, dealing with multiple agencies with ITS, transit/highway agency partnerships with ITS, use of ITS data for transit planning. The committee agreed to develop a call for papers dealing with uses of ITS information in transit planning for next year's meeting.

6d) Membership Subcommittee: The chair asked for suggestions for committee members, especially younger people, to fill committee vacancies. Sally Cooper, Tara Bartee, George Gray, Jim Bunch, and George Smerk were appointed as a membership subcommittee with Sally Cooper as chair.

7a) ITS in Transportation Planning meeting on Sunday. Jim Bunch reported that there are many cross-cutting topics between ITS and planning. There is a need to define roles and improve communication between committees.

Jim Bunch also reported on the status of the NCHRP project dealing with ITS in the planning process. ITS can lead to major changes in the planning process. A key issue is the gap between planning and operations with extensive institutional and organizational issues. It requires a new perspective for planning with emphasis on shorter term operations issues, new goals, expanded alternatives and better information. Committee members were asked to give feedback and comments on the process to Jim.

7b) Committee on Library and Information Sciences for Transportation (Jim Olivetti, This is a new committee with a broad purpose. Jean Thomas ( is the chair. The mission of the committee is to facilitate dissemination of tools and techniques for information sciences in transportation. He was briefed on the earlier discussion under 6b and offered to cooperate with our committee in any task forces that might be developed.

7c) Committee Scope and Triennial Review: The committee scope has been revised by TRB (based on previous input from the committee. Some revisions were suggested and the chair will update the scope for TRB.

Rich Bickel and Neal Denno will help with the committee self evaluation and triennial review. A self evaluation questionnaire will be sent to members for their comments. It is supposed to be filled out by March 1. It was felt that the review should be limited to a review to the current committee strategic plan.

7d) Transit Glossary Update: This has been updated as a chapter in the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, available on-line through TRB. It should be linked to on the committee web page. It should be reviewed to update it. This is a major task and may need support to create a stand along glossary. The chair will communicate this to Jack Reilly, chair of the TCRP panel dealing with the Level of Service Manual.

7e) Bus Rapid Transit Conference in Pittsburgh in August. An informal summer meeting of the committee should take place at this meeting. It was suggested that the committee could have a role in concept definitions and planning structures for bus rapid transit. Brenden Hemily volunteered to talk about Canadian experiences and planning perspectives on BRT, especially as they relate to other tools and issues.

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m..